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About ChatGPT

Message from Professor Ian Holliday, Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning)

Dear colleagues and students

You’ll have heard of ChatGPT, one of many large language models sweeping the internet and shaking up global education.

We’ve started to consider the implications of AI-based tools for teaching and learning at HKU and plan to launch a broad-based campus debate involving both teachers and students. Since the implications are certain to be significant, however, it will take a while for us to settle on a long-term policy. Meanwhile, we’re in the middle of a teaching semester with little room for manoeuvre as courses and assessments take place each week. We therefore need to adopt a short-term policy. This is it: As an interim measure, we prohibit the use of ChatGPT or any other AI-based tool for all classroom, coursework and assessment tasks at HKU. Exemptions require written permission from course instructors. Students cannot provide themselves or other students with exemptions.

Suspected violations of this interim policy will be treated as potential plagiarism cases. At HKU, plagiarism is defined as ‘the use of another person’s work (including but not limited to any materials, creations, ideas and data) as if one’s own without due acknowledgement, whether or not such work has been published and regardless of the intent to deceive’. Making unacknowledged use of ChatGPT or another AI-based tool, treated for these purposes as ‘another person’, falls squarely within this definition. Teachers who suspect ChatGPT or another AI-based tool has been used may call a student in to discuss their work, set a supplementary oral examination, require a supplementary in-hall examination, or adopt other measures. Our full procedures for handling suspected plagiarism cases are set out here:

Teachers with queries may contact colleagues in CETL and TELI. These two central units will also organize workshops on ChatGPT and other AI-based tools. Students with queries may consult their teachers. To be clear, our current policy is that, absent written permission, ChatGPT and other AI-based tools cannot be used for any credit-bearing activity at HKU.

Best wishes, Ian

Professor Ian Holliday
Vice-President (Teaching and Learning)
The University of Hong Kong